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The 7 Deadly Sins of IT Management

        posted by , May 15, 2011

The damage done by bad IT decisions at the CxO level can vastly outweigh any mistakes at the project management or solution level.

These 7 common IT management pitfalls are some of the most costly:

1. Wrath

Decision making that is motivated by internal politics.

Example: A director that engages in major spending just to boost her profile.

Results: From a business perspective, politically motivated decisions are irrational — often resulting in massive costs and business problems.

2. Greed

Over spending on IT when the economy is good and then panicking when there is an economic downturn — cutting strategic projects.

Example: Initiating a ERP implementation during a financial upswing and then cancelling it based on market jitters.

Results: Sudden upswings in IT spending leading to inefficiencies as the organization struggles to scale up. Sudden cuts in IT spending can result in large write-offs as the organization fails to extract any value from projects. It can also result in contract penalties and severance payments.

3. Sloth

Believing the sales pitches of consultants and software companies without proper due diligence.

Example: An executive invests in a ERP system believing that customization costs will be minimal. Product customizations and integration costs skyrocket and the project fails.

Results: The bad decisions brought on by a lack of executive due diligence can lead to significant business disruptions and escalation of IT costs.

4. Pride

Failure to involve line managers and working level staff in strategic planning.

Example: Executives plan to acquire a ERP without realizing that many of the business functions they require are supported by the company CRM.

Results: An inefficient or unrealistic strategy.

5. Lust

Assuming that big name consulting companies and products are best. Blindly selecting products and partners based on vague perceptions of reputation.

Example: A large consulting company brings out their big guns to woo executive decision makers. However, when the contract is signed most of the consultants they provide are fresh out of school.

Results: Poor product and partner selection often results in failed projects.

6. Envy

Blindly following competitors or trends.

Example: ABC company just got a new ERP — so we need one.

Results: Spending driven by trends over business need is often wasted.

7. Gluttony

Over-staffing projects in the mistaken belief that output will scale proportionally.

Example: Staffing 100 developers on a project to meet an arbitrary selected date (this type of strategy is often encouraged by consultants).

Results: Knowledge workers do not scale well. In some cases, 100 developers on a project may have only marginally higher output than 10 developers.

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